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Tony Fadell

Academy of Achievement

Tony Fadell
15 min2014 SEP 13
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When the rest of the world was just waking up to the possibility of cell phones and the Internet, Tony Fadell was already creating the technology behind the smartphone. Author of more than 300 patents, he sold a microprocessor startup to Apple just as he was leaving college. He spent the next decade pioneering mobile technology for the leading electronics companies, but none would fully commit to marketing the devices he created. When investors passed on Fadell's idea for a pocket-sized digital music player, Steve Jobs recruited him to design just such a product for Apple. Fadell led the team that created the first 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone, rising to Senior Vice President of the iPod division. Not satisfied with revolutionizing the way we communicate, navigate and listen to music, Fadell founded Nest Labs to bring smart technology to the most common household devices. The Nest Thermostat conserves energy by learning the habits of its users and can be managed remotely by smartphone. Nest Protect is an intelligent smoke and carbon monoxide detector that distinguishes between levels of threat and provides relaxed voice alerts instead of piercing alarms. Future products may address areas such as water conservation and home security. Last January, Nest was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion. In this podcast, recorded at the 2014 International Achievement Summit in San Francisco, he is joined onstage by journalist and Academy of Achievement delegate Samantha Barry. In their conversation, Tony Fadell, still recovering from a sporting injury, describes his career as an inventor, an Apple computer executive, and as the Founder and CEO of Nest.